Monday, May 10, 2010
Actually, this week's title is totally and completely untrue.
I've had a dream, a constant dream, pounding in my head and ringing in my ears, keeping me up at night and snapping me out of my fugues as I get them.
The dream is to do what I want for a living. To do it and be happy, or at least content and feeling like I'm living the way I want to.
And today, oh today.
It was something that started off completely unauspiciously.
On April 13th, I went to a robotics job fair at MIT. This was attached to the back end of a seminar on robotics that I did not attend. Now, I don't know squadoo about robotics, but I figure, hey, spread business cards around like seeds and perhaps one of them will sprout.
I was standing just sort of staring into space, looking at the board showing the companies expected and thinking, man oh Manischewitz, I am *SO* out of place here. Feeling weird. When this young guy comes up and he's looking kinda lost, too, and he looks at me and says out loud, "What the hell!" and sticks his hand out.
And B__ turns out to be truly sweet and owns his own company and is looking for venture capitalist funding. And he is young. Oh, so young. Only a coupla years out of college. Whip smart. Pleasant. Gets my jokes. We trade cards and I send him a note the next day, saying it was nice to meet him. I don't expect much as I write to everyone after these things.
I let it go and go about my other business and attend other events.
I get an email about a week ago - so sorry I didn't write back - I've been busy, life's been crazy, your email's been starred for weeks and I meant to contact you.
No prob. We agree to meet.
I go to his site. Aha! He's got a community (my speciality). But it's tiny. As in, less than a dozen people. I realize: this is why there's a need to see me. And I'm thinking, okay, this is not work, it's just a talk. People have picked my brain before and I'm more or less okay with it. After all, this is how I polish my pitch and hone my craft.
This morning, I look at his site again, and really think about it while on the bus. I get there early, and the coffeehouse is playing The Smiths (hence the song). So I take out a pad of paper and start writing down ideas. He should write this, submit here, do that, answer a blog there. A page's worth of ideas. Basic ideas, nothing too fancy.
He gets there, we grab coffee and sit. We talk about the site, about the community. I flip to the page and read off what I've thought of. He knows most but not all of what I'm talking about. And we get down to the nitty gritty: he needs content. I can write content. He needs a community. I can manage a community. He needs Twitter to be updated. I can do that.
And there is a meeting of the minds.
Emails will be exchanged (I need to get passwords and whatnot). This first month is something of a trial, particularly as I don't know the industry. I will meet the other guys (all college or grad level).
Things will be clearer in a few weeks as we work to formalize things a bit. But we are both excited about this, and enjoying the process as much as I'd hoped we would. Good to talk business but also laugh and bounce ideas off an obviously smart individual. Good to see the clear connection and the obvious need/niche/fulfillment coming full circle. Who knows where it will all lead? I don't know, but I want to find out.
And my scattered seed has, well, it may have sprouted.
And the other piece is that I have been bored. I was not going to the gym, was not loving walking, not wanting to (or really being able to, to be perfectly honest) run any more than I had been. I woke up today (and my weight was up again) and I realized that this cannot go on. And so I am quitting my old gym (writing up the letter as soon as I finish this blog entry) and am instead joining the Y down the street.
The reason to not spend time commuting to the gym disappears. The Y is new and different so there's freshness there. And, huzzah!
It has a pool.
I rarely get to swim, and I'm lousy at it, but I don't care.
And so my seed might be getting a little water.
This week is a short vacation on the Cape. I received word that I didn't get that job I interviewed for a month ago, but that's okay. It is highly likely that I will interview for a far better temp position soon. That one is also 6 months, also data analysis. And no, I don't really want to do data analysis. But I'm okay with it if I can also be working with my robotics pal and continuing to chase my vision.
I get the feeling I'm about to catch it.
Monday, May 03, 2010
There are water restrictions in my area. This is because of a huge water main break in Weston. It's affecting 2 million people. It coincides with the first real heat wave of the year. It happened the day we ran the second 5K of the year. But I cannot see running right now. Because in order to get any water, you've got to boil it if it's not bottled. You should see the production line at my house. Pot, lid, every thermos, every jug, anything with a lid. The measuring cup with the funnel. Careful, don't spill it.
So, I need to run more. I know I need to, as the running parts of both 5Ks this year have had me laboring for breath, my chest hurting and stinging. But running isn't possible.
And don't tell me to go to my gym. They're under the water restrictions as well. Plus, well, I'm just blocked. I cannot and do not want to return there. Not now. It is not going to be a good thing to push me to go, so kindly do not.
Motivation is a tricky, elusive beast. And I know myself. If I am pushed too hard, it will retreat even further. It will hide away and cover itself with a veil.
So are you hearing me? If you want to tell me to go to the gym, tell someone else, okay? Because it will do damage here. Thank you for respecting that.
And I know, I know, I know. I don't need to hear it. I know what I need to do, what I SHOULD do, what would be a good idea, yadda yadda yadda, yeah, I get it. It is not information that I need. It is not that. You will think it is a thousand excuses, and you need to let me have them for now.
I need to regroup. And I need for you all to let me do that. Without the pushing. Without the call to go forth and do a lot of amazing things. Right now amazing is out of reach.
It is not that I am not doing anything. I ran two damned 5Ks in less than a month, for God's sake.
And I am walking, and doing ST every single day, like always. It is the going beyond that is elusive, so I am here at the minimum, living at this moment rather than at that one, the one with all of the extras.
I am reminded of the scene in the film "Office Space" where Jennifer Aniston gets fired. Her boss asks her, "What would you think of the person who only does the bare minimum?" And we are talking about a waitressing job, it's not like it's a major career for her or anything. She ends up flipping him off and leaving. And it's a little bit like that. Right now, I am going to do what, for me, is the bare minimum. Why? Because it's easy. And because it is ... what's the word? Sufficient. Sufficient means hanging around, more or less, at this weight and not losing for a while. It means taking a bit of a break from the hot and heavy treadmill.
Because, well, because I've been doing this for a few years already. I've had more than one person ask me if I'm on maintenance. No. Not really. I've got a good 35 plus to go or so. But right now I want to rest, and test the maintenance waters a tad. What is life like, to not be trying to lose? To be, well, just to be? Not to just hang around and do nothing. That, sadly, is not maintenance. That is, for pretty much all of us what we call, regaining. Regaining is not my intention here. I just want to coast a bit, let the really hard work go and see what happens.
Motivation may come back tomorrow. It may come back after vacation (coming in 10 days, thank God!). Or it may take longer than that. Yelling at it to come back, like a Drill Sergeant, is not going to do me any favors. It's time to nurture it. It's time for me to stop and take stock right now.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I, I just don't know these days any more.
I'm in a funk. It's a bad one.
I'm normally feeling good this time of year. It's Spring and, sure, my allergies are out in full swing, but there's light and warmth amid the rain and, well, it doesn't seem to be enough right now.
It's a bunch of things, and certainly one of them is being up 4 lbs. this week but that's not really it, not really. That's not the big thing.
One thing that is going on is that I'd normally blame this on TOM but there's been no TOM for some 6 weeks or so. Now, I knew this would happen at some point in time. And I'm 47 1/2 years old already. At some point, you drop the peri from perimenopause. Perhaps this is the start of that, but it's annoying as I'd lose the quick weight loss bounce (or at least the blame!) from TOM and I feel like I've got PMS 24/7. And that's not just fun for me, it's a delight for Mr. J, too, I'm sure.
I'm not so sure how I feel about all of that. I've never, really, wanted to be a mother, and I still have no such desires in that area. I am crazy maternal about a lot of younger people (usually guys, maybe I'm just a cougar, eh?), though, so there's an outlet for that. I suspect a part of it is what it really means: you can run, and you can try to hide, but the push from youth to middle age is going to happen. And for we oh so privileged women, we have a clearer delineation. Men can lie to themselves about it a lot longer. They don't have the epic demarcation.
And, it is, of course, the whole career thing. The decision on that job remains delayed. Apparently there are three of us in contention for it. One competitor and I have already interviewed. The last one interviews some time this week -- the recruiter thought it might be tomorrow but he was unsure. Hence I'm on tenterhooks even longer.
I have been feeling crazy ambivalent about it for the entire time, ever since I applied for it.
It's not what I want.
It's good money.
It's not what I want.
It's a convenient commute.
It's not what I want.
It's a good company.
It's not what I want.
I could keep my gym.
It's not what I want.
I could see Mr. J for lunch on occasion.
It's not what I want.
It's good for my resume.
It's not what I want.
The people are nice.
It's not what I want.
I could do some web development.
Well, that's something.
The agony of waiting and feeling weird about the whole thing has been slipping into my dreams. I've dreamt of abandoning people. I've dreamt of organizing mountains of stuff. I've dreamt of going to the wrong places. All of these dreams come served up with a nice dollop of guilt a la mode and a side of you-don't-know-how-good-you've-got-it.
I walk around (I've been avoiding/missing/not going to my gym, but I am still doing some things) and it dominates my thoughts. It lives and breathes in my consciousness. It has scooped out a big hole and taken up residence, tentacles and suckers and feeding off my emotions, which are crazy and mixed up because of what may be the end, the death, of the peri part of perimenopause.
In with all of this, I continue to work on my site, and I know I've been overly aggressive, and I know I'm being impatient and nuts but I want so badly for it to succeed. I have been in business for myself, once before, but it was over 20 years ago and I was doing freelance depositions. I hated it and didn't want to do it and was just going through the motions. Now it's different, and I am trying so hard and working seemingly all the time and it feels like nothing is coming of it. Now, I am well aware that these things take time and I am being crazy and nutty and ridiculous but at the same time my hormones and my thoughts and my jiggery insanity are saying, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
We're not, I'm not. No, no, no, a thousand times no.
And then there's -- ha, you thought I was done! No, no, no, gentle reader -- the month in review. I want to lay it out there quickly, remind myself that avoiding the gym is not such a hot idea.
Keister/Hip (on me these are the same these days) 41.75"
None of these are personal bests but they're all decent. Bra fit calculators are insane, though, showing me 38AA (huh?), 40D (uh, I USED to be that) and 38C (kinda, sorta, those seem to work).
Stinky. No other way to put it. Feeling weird and out of sorts, and not sleeping too well, will do that to you. I'm exercising anyway although I am staying away from the gym. Some of that is feelings/laziness, but there is another, practical reason, as I was feeling a pull in the left abs area and I'm trying to not aggravate/reinjure that. Hence there is a reason for pulling away that isn't just emotion-related. I did run a 5K recently, and did well. Another one is set for this Saturday. I love them and I will do them. But the euphoria, sadly, does not last.
Things fit just fine, weird bra calculators notwithstanding. I fit into everything I own except for one size 10 skirt which is kinda small because it's lined. I can zip it but it's tight across the, er, across what I have in common with J. Lo.
Well, you know it all. I don't know what I need, if it's a kick in the keister or a day in bed, but more likely it's just for time to pass. Patience is something that I have been practicing for so long that I'm fresh out. Sorry, no more for today. And I'm seeing that going around, my friends here in particular are tired, feel worn out and done even if they're not, impatient, impractical, imp imp impish, perhaps. Being out of sorts seems to be galloping through my networks, and not just here but on the site I manage, too, and among my fellow networkers. The area is poised to start hiring again, big time, but no company seems to want to go first.
Better idea: don't kick ME in the keister. Kick THEM.
Monday, April 19, 2010
This was another one of my famous patented mixed-up weeks. I began with another small gain. Eek, up almost 8 lbs. since the all-time low. Which was only 2 weeks earlier. Gawd.
Okay, regroup. Move on. Think happy thoughts.
We got your resume. Love your background. Come in and interview.
It's a Data Analyst job.
I swore I wouldn't be doing any more data analysis. Or at least no more as my primary function.
Ah, well, but we have a lot of $$ for you (I didn't tell them the part about not wanting to do DA work any more, of course. Mama didn't raise no foo'). And the location is perfect. And you've worked here before and the people are always nice. And Management is decent. And we want someone to do some Web Dev while they're at it.
Which is what I've been doing, and enjoying, and would definitely enhance the whole Social Media Specialist career I'm trying to start.
So, sure. We set it for Friday.
Tuesday was a wacky evening. I went to a networking event for Robotics. Now, I know diddly about the field, but every company needs some sort of social media marketing. I handed out business cards. I smiled at the earnest young men, all young enough to be my kids. I chatted amiably with the dude from the press (he actually had the best leads for me).
Wednesday was 2 more networking events. Cards leapt out of my hands. Oh, would you work freelance? Sure. Hmm.
Thursday was a lunch in Waltham. Lovely people. More cards. Steered clear of the cole slaw (it was a barbecue joint) in favor of salad and pulled chicken. Who needs dressing when you've got hot sauce? Talked to new friends and old, my weight loss came up. Was called "inspiring". Um, okay.
Friday. Interview. I think it went well. I should hear some time early this week. I am guessing Wednesday at the latest.
Then yesterday was the first 5K of the year. I ran it in 40:31. See: www.coolrunning.com/results/1
0/ma/Apr18_Luv2Ru_set1.shtml . Yes, kids, I was dead last. But I don't care. It was the first race of the year. I was hoping to break 50 minutes and I nearly broke 40. It was the second-best performance of my little ole racing career.
Oh and I'd lost 2 lbs. when I weighed in this morning.
What's next? Well, hearing about the interview, of course. Will I take it if offered? Yes. It's a 6-month contract so, unless I'm renewed (this company renews a lot, but you never, ever know), I'm back looking in October or November or so. In the meantime, more experience, more resume enhancement, more web development and more, well, cash.
And I'll keep going to whatever networking events I can, keep writing and pumping out articles, keep putting myself out there. The scattered business cards are like seeds. Some will find purchase in the soil. Many will not. But in the meantime, while I wait for my garden to grow, I water it and feed it -- and get my salads from Star Market.
I'll let you know either way about the interview. In the meantime, my next 5K is May 1st. :)
Monday, April 12, 2010
Things are percolating along.
I do web development every blessed day now. No rest for the weary, no weekends off. Of course I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks. But it's a lot to do.
This is because - ha! - I have come to realize that, for the scope of my actual ambitions, I ned a staff of something like 50 people. Artists, designers, SEO (search engine optimization) experts, content managers and creators, web developers, PR people, a social media specialist to manage Twitter and Facebook (this is the actual job I am really looking for these days), etc.
I'm just one person.
So excuse me if I'm more than a little nutty. Or, at least, more than usual.
Although all this activity did give me one serious bounce: I had less time yesterday when I went to the Reservoir, so I ended up running about 1/3 or so of the time. And that lopped a nice 6 minutes off my 2.5K time. This is helpful as we have the first 5K of the year next Sunday. Eek. I am a lot less prepared than I was in October of last year, but I am infinitely better prepared than I was last June.
Hence I figure my time will not be super-fabulous but I am hoping to blow away last June (1 hour, 4 minutes and some miscellaneous seconds). I figure anything under 50 minutes will be great.
I also started up Pilates again. This is simple at-home stuff and focuses on the abs. My abs kill me while I do it. This is not because it's so hard; it's actually fairly gentle. That's more because of the continuing aftermath of surgery. But I'm improving.
Another recent idea is to get a kettlebell. I've been pricing them and like a particular 15-pounder on Amazon. I already have a good 35 pounds' worth of weights in here so that would up it to 50, although I wouldn't hold them all at the same time (it's not possible; no one's hands would be big enough). I'd also like to do the kettlebell kind of stuff where you really swing it around although I suspect, with my luck, it will fly out the window (thereby breaking said window), and then go sailing to the ground where it promptly clonks some random passerby in the noggin.
With my luck, this random passerby will be the Hiring Manager for some sort of major massively wonderful dream job I haven't even heard of yet. Hmm. I better wear the weight lifting gloves when I swing the kettlebell around (assuming I get it at all).
In other news, I'm waiting to hear whether I'm going to be interviewed for a particular job. Now, I wait to hear all the time, but this is something where the recruiter has called me regarding my application. Hence it's further along than most. This is a place where I used to work, it would be data analysis but they want someone with (aha!) web development experience, plus I have great internal references. I'll give the guy a day or so and then send an email or call.
It's not a perfect situation but it's a good/not bad one. Plus making some $$ for a while (it's a temp position) would be of use right now. In the meantime, networking goes on. And I have another date with the Reservoir today.
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